Fried Smoked Wings

Wonderfully smoky, tender meat with a lightly crispy skin, these smoked and then fried chicken wings were a thing of beauty. These are one of most dangerous things you could ever put in front of me. I don’t even need any sauce to toss or dunk them in, either. Just give me a big basket of them and get out of the way!
The process is simple. Season your wings, and place them onto your smoker. No messing around with them either. Just smoke for 2 hours.

When the wings are done you toss them into a deep fryer for a minute or so, until golden brown and lightly crispy. You can also make a big huge batch and freeze the smoked wings (before frying). All you have to do is thaw them and deep fry them when you’re ready to serve them at a later time. I was worried that making them from the frozen smoked wings would result in over-cooked, tough wings, but oh no, they were fantastic!

There’s a brewpub by our house, Redemption Alewerks, that makes crazy-good chicken wings. They smoke them first over a mix of mesquite and cherry woods, then flash fry them. They sauce them then place them over a hot flame to finish them off. My approach is similar, but I don’t always put them onto the grill at the end. They are fantastic either way, but grilling them real quick does help set the sauce.

For smoked wings that seem like they were fried, but weren’t, try my almost-fried smoked wings. Same great crunch and flavor without the oil.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

5 from 1 reviews
Fried Smoked Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded or saved for making chicken broth
  • Your favorite rub (I used Albukirky Seasoning's Green Chile Rub)
  • Canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for 225 F. Use any wood you like. I used Jack Daniel's whiskey barrel chunks because I wanted a good, noticeable smoke flavor. Use a lighter wood if you want your wings to be a little less smoky.
  2. Place the wings onto the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. No need to rotate or flip them.
  3. When done, remove from the smoker. You can deep fry them immediately or freeze them for thawing and frying later.
  4. To fry, heat canola oil to 350 F.
  5. Working in batches, add the wings and fry for 1-2 minutes or until they are the desired color.
  6. Let cool slightly. Serve tossed with your favorite sauce and your favorite dipping sauce on the side.
  7. Optional: Toss the wings onto a hot grill for 1 minute after saucing them to set the sauce.

Scorpion Tails

I’ve made ‘normal’ jalapeno poppers on my grill, smoker and using my Char-Broil Big Easy many, many times. These scorpion tales are like jalapeno poppers, but they’re a bit more fru-fru shall we say. Instead of cream cheese I used velvety smooth Havarti cheese (the favorite cheese in our household, often found on our sandwich wraps and grilled cheese sandwiches). Instead of smoky bacon I used prosciutto. You still get that same wonderful pepper flavor, and a little kick, and pork yummy-ness. Just a bit more special, and definitely something different to amaze and wow your guests!
I often dust my jalapeno poppers with my favorite rub before cooking them. I decided to skip doing that with these scorpion tales. I didn’t want anything to mask the flavors of the cheese and prosciutto. You can certainly add some rub or seasoning if you wish. But if it was me, I’d skip it or keep it very light.

5 from 1 reviews
Scorpion Tails
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18 bites
 
Ingredients
  • 9 jalapenos, halved, membranes and seeds removed
  • 9 ounces jalapeno Havarti cheese, softened
  • 18 slices prosciutto
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for smoking at 250 F. Use a medium wood such as hickory.
  2. Fill the jalapeno halves with the cream cheese. Iv'e found that I can spread the cheese in with a knife if it has softened enough. If not, just cut the cheese into thin slices and then fill the peppers.
  3. Wrap each pepper in a slice of prosciutto.
  4. Smoke for 20-30 minutes or until softened.

Cedar Planked Twinkies

Grilled Twinkies are a great thing. Cedar planked Twinkies are a wonderful thing. Just a light hint of cedar takes a simple dessert to a new place. You can top them with whatever you have on hand. For me that meant Nutella (a good thing no matter what, but also good to keep your other toppings from falling off of the Twinkies), ooey-gooey marshmallows, crunchy toffee and of course, whipped cream.
Ice cream, toasted nuts, cherries, anything you can find while be good on cedar planked Twinkies. Just don’t leave the Twinkies on the grill too long or the cedar flavor might get too strong. You want that hint of cedar to kind of be lurking in the background. You don’t want it jumping right out at you. You can also skip the cedar plank and grill the Twinkies directly on your grill.

5 from 1 reviews
Cedar Planked Twinkies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
You'll need one cedar plank.
Ingredients
  • 4 Twinkies
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup Toffee pieces
  • Whipped cream
  • Any other favorite toppings (roasted peanuts, toasted walnuts, fresh fruit or berries, etc)
Instructions
  1. Soak plank in water for 1 hour.
  2. Fire up a grill for indirect 300 F grilling.
  3. Place Twinkies on the plank.
  4. Slather tops with the Nutella.
  5. Sprinkle with the marshmallows and toffee.
  6. Place on the grill and grill for 15 minutes or until the marshmallows have started to melt.
  7. 'Serve topped with whipped cream and whatever other toppings you enjoy.

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Sno-Cone Syrup

Yes, I do have a machine that shaves ice. I mean, why wouldn’t I? Everyone loves sno-cones. I used to buy big bottles of syrup at the store (due to occasional laziness) and finally asked myself how hard could it really be to make some at home? The answer? It’s not hard at all and the flavors are so much more bold. I keep a few different ones on hand in squeeze bottles, ready to make delicious sno-cones at a moment’s notice.

Here’s the ice shaver that I use. It’s small, fairly cheap, and has held up for years. Just add a few ice cubes and turn it on and it starts shooting out perfectly shaved ice in an instant.

5 from 1 reviews
Sno-Cone Syrup
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar (you can substitute Splenda or the equivalent)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (0.13 ounce) your favoriteKool-Aid flavor packet
Instructions
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat and let boil for 1 minute, stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the flavor packet.
  4. Allow to cool in the fridge for 1 hour before using.

BBQ Pulled Pork Poutine

I’m a big fan of poutine. It’s definitely one of my favorite dishes. I’ve made it the classic way (fries, curds, gravy) many times. This time I thought I’d try a totally different approach to poutine and top the fries with smoked BBQ pulled pork instead. A handful or two of curds and a pickle garnish and I was in poutine heaven again.
There’s really no way to improve on this BBQ pulled pork poutine. Every bite was flat-out delicious. I used spicy hot pepper cheese curds, but I think any flavor (other maybe curds infused with herbs such as rosemary or thyme) would work perfectly.

As an aside, on the off chance that you have a little leftover pulled pork and curds, make a few baked potatoes and top them with the meat and cheese. You won’t be sorry.

5 from 1 reviews
BBQ Pulled Pork Poutine
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
The amounts below can be changed to suit your tastes. I didn't measure anything very closely, I just went for it. You can't mess this up so don't worry about amounts so much.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen French fries, cooked per package instructions (or use fresh-made)
  • 1 cup BBQ pulled pork, warmed
  • 1 cup cheese curds (I used hot pepper curds)
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen French fries, cooked per package instructions (or use fresh-made)
  • 1 cup bread-and-butter pickles, diced
Instructions
  1. Spread the fries out onto a large platter.
  2. Add pulled pork and cheese curds.
  3. Drizzle with the BBQ sauce and garnish with the pickles.
  4. Devour.

Cajun Shrimp-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Wow, talk about amazingly good. The heck with the main dish, just load me up on some of these Cajun shrimp-stuffed poblano peppers. A slight kick of heat, perfect shrimp and creamy melted cheese. What’s not to love?
cajun-shrimp-stuffed-pobalno-peppersYou could use green bell peppers instead, if you want. I love poblanos because they are a little spicier than a bell pepper without just completely drowning out a dish in heat.

For extra kick, substitute shredded pepper jack cheese for the feta and mozzarella and add a few diced roasted jalapenos into the shrimp mixture. That’ll definitely liven up the party.

Cajun Shrimp-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, raw or pre-cooked, 24-30 count, peeled, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (if you are using raw shrimp)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Note: You can use pre-cooked shrimp if you desire. Just toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning and do not cook.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove any stems or seeds.
  4. If using cooked shrimp, toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning in a large bowl.
  5. If using raw shrimp, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the shrimp, sprinkle with the seasoning, and cook, turning, until done, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the cheeses, basil and hot sauce to the shrimp Stir.
  7. Transfer shrimp mixture to the poblanos and place on a baking dish.
  8. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are softened.
  9. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

 

Black Forest Cheesecake

I can’t bake, and I’m not afraid to admit it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t throw together a simple delicious pie or cheesecake. I haven’t yet graduated to making my own crusts, so I ‘cheat’ and grab those pre-made ones from the store. This Black Forest cheesecake came out fantastic despite my lack of baking skills. A nice chocolatey flavor, perfect texture, and topped with yummy tart cherries. Dangerously good.
What I do differently next time I make a Black Forest cheesecake? Nothing. Not a thing. Well, ok, I might double the recipe and make four cheesecakes instead of just two. I’ll be taking a few of these to our next family holiday get-together, that’s for sure!

Black Forest Cheesecake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 pies
 
Ingredients
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted per package instructions
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 pre-made Oreo or chocolate pie crusts
  • 2-3 cups Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 325º F.
  2. Place cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a mixer and mix until blended.
  3. Add the sour cream and chocolate and blend.
  4. With the blender running, add the eggs one at a time until blended.
  5. Divide mixture between the two pie pans (they'll be pretty full) and bake 40 minutes or until the center is almost set.
  6. Let cool completely then refrigerate for 4 hours.
  7. Spread Cool Whip over tops of cheesecakes.
  8. Serve slices with a spoonful or two of the cherry pie filling.

 

Beef Summer Sausage

Well, hot diggity dog! Get me some cheese and crackers and fast! This beef summer sausage came out tasting fantastic! Perfect texture, too. Boy, I could not have been happier with it. Great beefy flavor with a hint of smoke and pepper.
I made my beef summer sausage ‘log’ a bit bigger round than I had thought, close to 2 inches. Not that that was a bad thing, but next time I’ll shoot for a size that fits more perfectly onto a cracker. A little meaty overhang isn’t a bad thing, mind you.

And I might add a bit of heat next time. I’m thinking that a few good sized pinches of red pepper flake ought to do it!

Beef Summer Sausage
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pound
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 95/5 ground beef (the leanest you can find, preferably)
  • 2 tablespoons Morton's Tender Quick
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked black pepper (or use regular black pepper and add a bit more Liquid Smoke)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Instructions
  1. Place the meat into a bowl and add the Tender Quick. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, start by preheating your oven to 225 F.
  3. Add the Liquid Smoke, pepper and garlic salt to the meat and mix very well.
  4. Divide the meat into two equally-sized halves and form into logs.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 4 hours.
  6. Remove and let cool completely before slicing thin and serving with sliced cheeses and crackers.